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Isabel’s afternoon roundup

Friday, Jun 21, 2024 - Posted by Isabel Miller


When it’s finally time to sentence the longest-serving Chicago City Council member in history for racketeering, bribery and attempted extortion, federal prosecutors want a judge to send “a simple, undiluted and unequivocal warning” to government officials across the state: […]

It’s been nearly a decade since an Illinois politician as significant as [ex-Ald Ed Burke] (14th) faced sentencing at the Dirksen Federal Courthouse. Plenty of lesser Chicago pols have been sent away, though, vexing judges inside the building. They’ve mulled the cost-benefit ratio for “rational” politicians who too often choose greed, graft and power over the public good.

Now, U.S. District Judge Virginia Kendall, one of the building’s most senior jurists, has a chance to send the loudest message since U.S. District Judge James Zagel gave 14 years to ex-Gov. Rod Blagojevich. Prosecutors want 10 years for Burke. Whatever Kendall does will add to a long-running courthouse debate about how to put a stop to corruption in Chicago — and whether that’s possible. […]

Burke’s sentencing hearing is set to begin at 10 a.m. Monday at the downtown courthouse. Hearings generally begin on time, so Burke must make his way by then to Kendall’s 25th-floor courtroom — which used to belong to Zagel.

* Sun-Times

A federal judge sentenced former Illinois Sen. Annazette Collins to a year in prison Friday for cheating on her taxes in a case with ties to the same investigation that snared indicted former Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan.

A jury in February convicted Collins of filing false individual tax returns for the years 2014 and 2015, failing to file one for the year 2016 and failing to file a corporate tax return for 2016.

“Her offenses were driven by greed,” U.S. District Judge Jorge Alonso said. “She doesn’t want to hear that, but it’s absolutely true.” […]

Meanwhile, the case brought by prosecutors revolved around her work with her lobbying firm, Kourtnie Nicole Corp., following her years in the legislature. That firm wound up collecting hefty sums from politically connected firms and utilities.

They included ComEd and AT&T Illinois, both of which were caught up in the Madigan investigation and faced criminal charges.

* Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

A project aimed at keeping invasive carp out of the Great Lakes could be in jeopardy if Illinois doesn’t meet a fast-approaching deadline to release federal funds.

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker has until the end of June to sign the agreement with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers or the project will incur additional costs and continue to face delays.

The Brandon Road Interbasin Project is a state-of-the art barricade at an important pinch point at the Brandon Road Lock and Dam along the Des Plaines River in Joliet, Illinois. From there, invasive carp could make their way from the Mississippi River to Lake Michigan.

The project costs more than $1.1 billion, which many say is a small price to pay to keep the Great Lakes healthy and protect the multi-billion dollar fishing and recreation industries.

* Treasurer Micheal Frerichs…

The State Treasurer’s Office made a record $130.1 million in investment earnings from the state investment portfolio in May, Illinois Treasurer Michael Frerichs announced today.

Treasurer Frerichs is the state’s Chief Investment and Banking Officer. He is responsible for investing state revenue in the state investment portfolio. So far in Fiscal Year 2024, Frerichs’ Office has earned more than $1.3 billion for the state portfolio.

“Every dollar we earn in interest is a dollar that lawmakers don’t have to raise in taxes,” Frerichs said. “The State Treasurer’s Office cannot solve all of our problems, but we can be part of the solution.”

Also in May, nearly $90.9 million in gross investment earnings was earned for cities, villages, school districts, counties and other units of government thattake part in the highly rated Illinois Funds local government investment pool the State Treasurer’s Office operates. So far in Fiscal Year 2024, the Office has earned more than $973.6 million for the Illinois Funds, which has received the highest rating of AAA from Fitch, a national credit ratings agency.

* Illinois Department of Employment Security…

The Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) announced today that the unemployment rate increased +0.1 percentage point to 4.9 percent, while nonfarm payrolls increased +12,700 in May, based on preliminary data provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), and released by IDES. The April revised unemployment rate was 4.8 percent, unchanged from the preliminary April unemployment rate. The April monthly change in payrolls was revised from the preliminary report, from +7,300 to +1,900 jobs. The May unemployment rate and payroll jobs estimate reflect activity for the week including the 12th.

In May, the industry sectors with the largest over-the-month job gains included: Professional and Business Services (+7,100), Government (+3,300), and Financial Activities (+2,400). The industry sectors with monthly payroll job declines included Manufacturing (-2,300), Leisure and Hospitality (-1,200), Construction (-100) and Mining (-100). […]

The state’s unemployment rate was +0.9 percentage point higher than the national unemployment rate reported for May. The national unemployment rate was 4.0 percent in May, up +0.1 percentage point from the previous month. The Illinois unemployment rate was up +0.7 percentage point from a year ago when it was 4.2 percent.

Compared to a year ago, total nonfarm payroll jobs increased by +43,900 jobs. The industry groups with the largest jobs increases included: Private Education and Health Services (+29,200), Government (+28,600), and Leisure and Hospitality (+13,900). The industry groups with the largest jobs decreases included: Professional and Business Services (-24,800), Trade, Transportation, and Utilities (-6,600), and Financial Activities (-4,500). In May, total nonfarm payrolls were up +0.7 percent over-the-year in Illinois and up +1.8 percent in the nation.

The number of unemployed workers was 317,400, up +1.3 percent from the prior month, and up +17.8 percent over the same month one year ago. The labor force was up +0.2 percent over-the-month and up +1.4 percent over-the-year. The unemployment rate identifies those individuals who are out of work and seeking employment. An individual who exhausts or is ineligible for benefits is still reflected in the unemployment rate if they actively seek work.

*** Statewide ***

* ABA Journal | 19 state AGs fire back after others demand ABA diversity standards change: Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul sent the letter to “reaffirm our commitment to ensuring that diversity, equity, and inclusion programs continue to effectively address discrimination throughout the private and philanthropic sector.” […] “We also write to respond to coordinated attempts to contort the law and invalidate programs aimed at eliminating and preventing racial inequities,” the June 20 letter states.

* Sun-Times | The heat inside your car can turn deadly in minutes this summer: A Sun-Times test this month — before the recent heat wave hit — found the inside temperature of a parked car in a sunny spot rocketed to dangerous levels in minutes. […] The black 2015 Toyota Corolla we tested June 13 on a residential street in Irving Park reached 103.1 degrees in 15 minutes and 114.1 degrees in 45 minutes, according to a sensor placed inside the car out of direct sunlight.

* Press Release | IDNR and Department of Ag to offer free camping at select state parks during 2024 Illinois State Fair: The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) and the Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA) are teaming up to offer two nights of free camping at select state parks for anyone who purchases a 2024 Illinois State Fair admission book online between June 26 and July 3.

* Center Square | A book about bucket list items to see and do in Illinois: “100 Things to Do in Illinois Before You Die” is published by Reedy Press. Author Melanie Holmes said she wasn’t planning to write a guide book but became aware of Reedy Press’s series and decided there needed to be a book about her home state. […] Holmes said one of her favorite things to do is to visit the zoological park in Hanna City.

*** Chicago ***

* Crain’s | A year on, Chicago is still grappling with the void Jim Crown’s death created: Crown died in a racetrack accident on June 25, 2023, in Colorado on his 70th birthday, just weeks after the Civic Committee of the Commercial Club of Chicago unveiled a violence-reduction program he championed, one that fell outside the group’s comfort-zone focus on transportation, education and state finance. His death cast a pall over Chicago’s civic community and renewed scrutiny of the city’s boardroom commitment to philanthropic causes against the backdrop of a corporate headquarters drain blamed in part on the city’s bleak homicide record.

* Sun-Times | In bid for young voters, Democrats offer social media influencers press access to August convention: It’s part of a critical voter outreach plan that’s been in place since President Joe Biden’s 2020 campaign and has extended into the halls of the White House — as Biden combats former president Donald Trump and his army of social media influencers. An estimated 32% of people between 18 and 29 got their news from TikTok last year, according to a Pew Research Center poll. And a poll conducted by the University of Chicago’s GenForward late last month found Biden has lost support from young Black and Latino voters compared to 2020.

* ABC Chicago | Indiana Fever vs. Chicago Sky rematch tickets poised to be most expensive in WNBA history: Ticket prices for Clark’s Indiana Fever and Reese’s Chicago Sky are the most expensive for a WNBA game ever, according to TickPick, with the average hovering at around $253 - 187% higher than the Sky’s average purchase price of $88. Currently, the cheapest seat just to see the game is around $250 with the most expensive ticket on sale going for more than $9,000.

* Block Club | 15 Things To Do In Chicago This Weekend: Pride Fest, Vegandale And A Bronzeville Bazaar: This weekend is packed with Chicago street and food festivals, including Pride Fest, Vegandale, Motoblot and the Magnificent Mile Art Festival. There’s also the Andersonville Vintage Market, a Lakeview native plant sale, the Bernard Street Yard Sale in Logan Square, a 5K along the 312 RiverRun trail and the return of the Bronzeville Vendor Fair and Wildflower Music Festival.

*** Cook County and Suburbs ***

* WBBM | Embattled Dolton mayor at center of chaotic Thornton Township board meeting: People complained about Henyard’s leadership, about a canceled previous meeting and the amount of time they’re allowed to speak. Those in attendance also argued with one another. They even argued with a man who stood at the podium and suggested they act like adults.

* Tribune | One migrant worker’s effort to claim workers’ comp, a right all workers have despite immigration status: Jose Antuna fell through a drain at a west suburban car wash where he worked and tore his meniscus in mid-November. […] In Illinois, it is illegal under the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 to knowingly hire workers who are in the country without legal permission. However, these workers are as entitled to workers’ compensation benefits when injured on the job as people who are citizens.

*** Downstate ***

* SJ-R | ‘Icon of Springfield’: New plaque recognizes Horseshoe sandwich: Visit Springfield, a tourism division of the Springfield Convention & Visitors Bureau, unveiled a plaque to commemorate the birth of the Horseshoe sandwich at the historic Leland Building at the corner of Sixth Street and Capitol Avenue in Springfield. The location is where the original Springfield Horseshoe Sandwich was created.

* Intelligencer | Steven Cook pleads guilty to falsifying bank records: The president of a southern Illinois bank admitted to a scheme to falsify bank records to facilitate real estate loans. Steven Cook pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Benton, Illinois to three felony counts of aiding and abetting the making of a false bank entry. Cook was the president of SouthernTrust Bank at the time. The bank has branches in Marion, Vienna and Goreville, Illinois. Cook was also a member of the bank’s board and a member of its loan committee.

* WCIA | Illinois Raptor Center in urgent need of donations: The Illinois Raptor Center specializes in aiding all kinds of birds. They said they are currently “floor-to-ceiling” in baby raptors, and are struggling to keep them fed and medicated. The organization also said their air conditioning isn’t working at their office and education center. The break-down puts pressure on their need for funding — however, money for food and meds must be prioritized over repairs, they said.

*** National ***

* AP | Car dealerships are being disrupted by a multi-day outage after cyberattacks on software supplier: For prospective car buyers, that may mean delays at dealerships or vehicle orders written up by hand, with no immediate end in sight. Here’s what you need to know. CDK Global is a major player in the auto sales industry. The company, based just outside of Chicago in Hoffman Estates, Illinois, provides software technology to dealers that helps with day-today operations — like facilitating vehicle sales, financing, insurance and repairs. CDK serves more than 15,000 retail locations across North America, according to the company. Whether all of these locations were impacted by this week’s cyberattacks was not immediately clear.


1 Comment
  1. - Responsa - Friday, Jun 21, 24 @ 4:28 pm:

    With all the hugely disappointing humans in the news here today I was happy to donate what little I could to the Illinois Raptor Center. Thanks for publicizing it in the afternoon roundup.

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